/> Raising Angels: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Song and Dance

Last night, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, I heard Nelson set up for karaoke. Since we've given up TV and the Wii for Lent, everyone's getting very creative with their time. Somehow they all figured that hooking up the karaoke to the TV did not count as TV time at all.

It was close to bedtime and I was trying desperately to clean up from the mess of dinner…and the day. Everyone else was singing their little hearts out as I put the food away and wiped the counters. I had just started to get the water warm to wash the dishes when they yelled, “It’s your turn Mama!”

By now it was past bedtime and the kitchen was not finished and I did not feel like singing (karaoke is not one of my favorite things to do as singing is not one of my best talents). However, when I saw the joy on those little faces, I had to join them. I stepped over the Lego’s to get to the microphone and tried not to look at the folded laundry that had yet to be put away.

The music started and I had to focus on the screen because I was singing a song I barely knew. It took all of one verse for me to forget the mess and start dancing. The accepting audience of the people who love me whether or not I’m singing in tune joined in and before I knew it - I was a rock star baby.

When my song ended, Mackenzie was eager to grab the mike. Before I could leave the scene Aiden asked me to dance. How could I possibly say no? By the end of the song he was fox-trotting with me better than some of the freshmen we teach. Of course, when Dawson saw this he had to have the next turn and the next thing I knew I was swinging Max in circles thinking, “Bedtime? What bedtime?”

The kids got to bed an hour later than normal on a school night. The kitchen got cleaned…eventually. The evening, in short, did not go as planned at all. Instead, it went much better.

Holding Aiden’s hand hearing him tell me, “Look Mama, now I can do it without looking down,”; having Dawson beg me to teach him the smooth moves; holding Max in my arms while he begged, “Dance with me Mama! Dance faster!”; listening to the way Mackenzie sings on key and in time with anything we throw at her; watching Nelson compliment the boys on their dance steps; these are the moments they’ll remember forever.

In the end, I discovered that I’d rather be the mama that dances with her kids in the middle of the family room than the one who keeps her house immaculate. Besides, are they really going to remember how clean our house was anyway? Will they even notice? They will remember the time we spent with them. They will remember fun things like dancing to karaoke.

They might also remember the tunes of their mama and daddy singing away long after they fell asleep!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm Back From the Capital

And oh what a run it was! I had so much fun. Even though the race was a bit unorganized and it was a frigid 28 degrees with the wind blowing, there's just something about running in the shadow of the Washington Monument and the Capital that was really inspiring.
I'm just wondering...is this too much to stick on my car? This was my fourth...my FOURTH...half (remember when I was dreading…I mean dreading doing this?) and I saw this at the expo and just had to have it. Now I find myself wondering if it would be better on the fridge so as to not be too pretentious about this whole running thing. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Such a Good Try

As a family we gave up TV for Lent this year. This morning Max walked into the kitchen and asked, "Mama, can I watch cartoons?"

"Not today buddy."

"Please may I watch cartoons?" he tried again.

"Max, we gave up TV for Lent, remember?"

He looked up at me with those big eyes and said, "But it's a FEAST day Mama."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just Dropping In

Well, I made it back from Vegas. We had such a good time; I didn't want to come home. Truth be told, it wasn't necessarily that I wanted to stay in Vegas, although there are still things I didn't see or do that I'd like to. It was simply that I was away. There was no real schedule, no carpools, no alarms, no telephones ringing or doorbells chiming. I didn't do a stitch of laundry or cleaning or cooking. The biggest decisions I made every day were what to wear, where to eat, and how long I wanted to lie in bed.

See why I didn't want to come home?

I have pictures to show and stories to tell but no time to do either just yet because I fly to DC Thursday to meet my baby brother and run his first half marathon with him. Crazy I know, but keep in mind that when I signed up for this race back in November, I had no idea we'd be going to Vegas or that it would be the week before the race. Such is the story of my life. I'm not complaining mind you.

Before I leave, I have a lot to do. So, telling Vegas tales will have to wait. Although...you know what they say about Vegas:)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quick Takes - Really Fast Edition

1. I am going to Las Vegas tomorrow.

2. This morning, at 1 AM, I found myself wondering why in the world I felt it an absolute necessity to clean out my pantry before my folks arrived to watch the kids. Keep in mind that these are the folks who live about a mile from me. My mom comes over daily to watch the boys while I teach and has seen my house and its best and worst.

I knew all this. I understood her when she asked me please not to clean up for her. I did it anyway. At least now I won't have to worry about one of them breaking a leg as they trip over the napkins strewn across the pantry floor.

3. Tomorrow I will leave the house around 7 AM to go to Las Vegas.

4. I stand by my mantra that states, "It is much easier to live your life, than to try to have someone else fill in for you." I never realize quite how crazy my life is until I try to write it all down for someone else. Carpools and lessons and soccer games...oh my!

I'm happy to report my lesson plans are done, subs are in place, carpools are coordinated and yes...pantry is clean.

5. I'm leaving my babies for an entire week to go to Las Vegas TOMORROW!

I cannot tell you how tremendously grateful I am to have parents willing to take on this mammoth task. Please pray for them this week and if you live nearby, check to make sure they are remembering to breath.

6. In the annals of everything electronic in my house is falling apart; we have added to the list our television. Seriously, I think we need some deliverance. Washer, cook top, microwave, heating and air system and now television - what's up?

Interestingly enough, we decided weeks ago that our family would give up television for Lent so I was actually thinking the timing was kind of perfect. That is until my folks came over for brunch on Sunday and my dad mentioned to Nelson, "Um, you are going to have that fixed by next week right?"

It cost us exactly $65 to have someone come to the house and count the number of times the light on the TV was blinking (I need his job). The estimate came back at close to half the cost of the TV, so Nelson spent time yesterday buying a new one.

Now my kids are salivating over the new addition that they cannot watch for 40 days. God has a funny sense of humor.

7. Did I mention that tomorrow I get to go to Las Vegas with my best friend in the world? My life is good!

Go here for more quick takes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One of these things is not like the others

Tonight's dinner consisted of a few grilled items - hotdogs, brats and burgers - brought to us by my neighbor. When the kids came in, I asked one by one who wanted what.

"Aiden, do you want a hamburger, hotdog or bratwurst?"


"Dawson, what would you like?"

"A hotdog please."

Then Max chimed in, "I'll have chips."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I'll Be There For You

Last Friday I sacrificed my only 2 free hours of the week to head in to school early to watch Dawson be an extra in the third grade play.

"Do you have any lines?" I asked him.


"Do you really want me to come?" I asked, praying that he would say don't bother.

"Yes Mama. I get to go on stage three times."

"What do you do?"

"I stand there to be counted!"
So there I was with a big-eyed, dimple-faced cutie staring at me, thinking there is no way I should be going to this play. I drop Max off for school downtown at 9:30 get back at 10, go to Dawson's play at 10:30 and teach at 12. I had a lot of things to do, things that needed to get done...especially since we are getting ready to leave town for a week. I didn't want to spend that time watching someone else's kid's play while mine came on for a second to be counted.

And then I remembered.

I remembered every dance recital, band concert, play and sporting event I ever participated in. I remembered that, no matter what, someone was there for me. Mostly, I remembered how comforting it was to have my parents in the audience and how proud I was to show off my skills.

It was a no brainer. I had to go. Not only did I go and watch him, but since that left me with right under an hour before teaching, I stayed and helped with his little cast party.

He loved me to come with him. He absolutely beamed when I dropped in back stage to snap a photo before the show started.
He proudly held my hand as we marched back into his classroom. He slid right up beside me as we ate pizza together.

I knew right then and there (and really before I even decided to do it) that I made the right decision. I remembered my parents' mantra, "We support each other because that's what families do." So, that's just what I did. Quite frankly, it's who I am, as inconvenient as it is sometimes.

I sat at that play with a smile plastered to my face and shot pictures like crazy of my little guy...standing. He was amazing and I told him so. Good day.

Today, however, I discovered that the date for Aiden's play, which he just happens to have the lead in, is precisely when I will be out of town. It took my breath away. Since it wasn't officially in the book, I asked the teacher if there was another day she could do it. After some hesitation, she said if I would move my play, which is already on the calendar and has dozens of fliers with our date on it already colored, we could switch. I agreed because the inconvenience it would cause me is a small price to pay to see my boy in his shining moment (the play has been a constant topic of conversation for weeks now).

Unfortunately, that date didn't work either because of field trips, lesson plans, etc. And, even though I knew how selfish it was for me to even ask, I was totally devastated when the reality hit that I was actually going to miss it.

In the grand scheme of things a second grade class play is not life altering. But today it most certainly is. When Aiden leaped into my classroom after school, he happily announced that he knows the date of the play and it isn't when I'm in Las Vegas; he was so happy that I nearly burst into tears.

"Listen buddy, I am going to be out of town on that day," I managed in my bravest voice.

A look of shock came over his face. "No you're not; it's not the week of your trip."

"I know bud, but remember that race I said I would run with Uncle Kevin? That's the same time as your play. I'm so sorry...really sorry. I signed up for this before I even knew you were going to have a play. I already have my plane ticket. I talked to your teacher and I'm going to come to your dress rehearsal okay? I will still get to see you and it will be even better because I'll be the only one there," I said hoping like crazy he would buy it.

He bravely held back tears and was completely deflated. My heart broke. "Hey, I already called Daddy and had him put it on his calendar so he will definitely be there for you. I'm sure Bama and Dampa will come and probably Papa and Damma too. You might have the biggest audience there. It will be great, you'll see. I'll have them take videos so I can see you in it again okay?"

"Sure, okay," he managed.

I guess the lesson here is that no matter how hard you try, you can't make everything. Will he remember every single backyard soccer practice and game I sat through? Will he think about all the flag football games I made? I certainly hope so. Will he suffer for the rest of his life because I can't make the play? I am absolutely positive he will survive this. Will he get a guilt gift better than his siblings for his play because I can't make it? Absolutely, positively, YES.

What can I say? Sometimes, you have to help the positive memories along.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Men are from Mars

Max was looking at a stack of glass plates I have sitting in my bedroom. "What are these for Mama?"

"Those are for a shower I'm giving buddy. Be careful with them okay?"

"Okay. But Mama, what are they for?"

"To put food on," I said wondering what kind of question that was.

With a surprised look on his face he asked, "You are going to eat in the shower?"

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

From the Annals of Austin Poopers....I Mean Powers

This evening in the middle of dinner with guests, Max announced, "I need to go poo-poo."

I discriminately tried to ignore him a bit as this is often a tactic to avoid eating. He was persistent however and announced louder, "I NEED to go POO-POO!"

I led him to the bathroom before he became any more distracting. I placed him on the toilet, where he quickly got to business. And, along with the bodily sounds that often accompany this activity he excitedly said, "Oh yeah, baby!"